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IMF: Moving Past Harmful Conditions in Current Meltdown?

According to Mark Landler, the International Monetary Fund may be trying to take advantage of the current crisis to resurrect itself from its near-death experience, but there are no signs that this means a return to old-IMF-style conditionalities:

On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund announced it would lend up to $100 billion to healthy countries that are having trouble borrowing as a result of the turmoil in the global markets. And the Federal Reserve said it would commit up to $30 billion each to Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and Singapore, to enable those countries to more easily swap their currencies for dollars...

The loans will carry none of the strings that usually accompany fund money, including demands to raise interest rates and cut public spending...

That prospect troubles some critics, who contend that the fund is prescribing the same radical measures that caused unnecessary pain in some Asian countries during that region’s financial crisis a decade ago...

Suspicion of the fund is a global phenomenon: the Korean government declared it would not take any loans. Feelings there are still raw from the Asian financial crisis, during which the fund forced South Korea and other countries to raise their interest rates sharply.Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a former French finance minister, said he was aware of resistance stemming from the Asian crisis and was trying to tailor loans more closely to the conditions in the countries.

Stay tuned to see if the IMF's promises are kept.

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